Conquering the Land

Discovery for Students

Conquering the Land



Joshua 1:1 through 8:35

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9)


God gave Joshua a monumental job after the death of Moses: He was to assume a leadership position and direct the Children of Israel in an extended military campaign in an unfamiliar land filled with fortified cities and multiple enemies. Fortunately, along with this great commission, God gave Joshua the encouragement he needed to succeed.

The first eight chapters of the Book of Joshua narrate the events surrounding the Israelites’ entry into the Promised Land and the beginning of their conquest of Canaan. After God provided a miraculous crossing of the Jordan River, the people camped near the mighty city of Jericho. God outlined a unique battle strategy for conquering the walled fortress; by following God’s instructions precisely, the people won a tremendous victory.

After the destruction of Jericho, the Children of Israel set out to take the small town of Ai. To their shock, the forces sent against the town were driven back and lives were lost. Their hearts were melted, not because of cowardice, but because, clearly, the Lord’s strong hand, upon which they had relied, had been removed from them. The cause was sin in the camp — Achan had disobeyed God’s instruction and taken of the spoils of Jericho. When this matter was dealt with according to the instruction of God, the Israelites succeeded in capturing Ai.


  1. How do you think Joshua may have felt when God called him to lead the Children of Israel into Canaan? Briefly describe the ways that Joshua was encouraged, directly or indirectly, before he led the Children of Israel into battle.
  2. God promised to be with Joshua as He had been with Moses (Joshua 1:5). Why would this promise have been an encouragement to Joshua?
  3. When God promised to be with Joshua and the Children of Israel, He asked Joshua to do two things: to obey His word (Joshua 1:7-8) and to be courageous (Joshua 1:9). What is the relationship between obeying God and having courage?
  4. After their miraculous crossing into Canaan, Joshua had the Children of Israel set up “memorial stones” from the Jordan River so that their children and “all the people of the earth” might be reminded of God’s mighty power (Joshua 4:21-24). Rehearse, in your mind, ways that God has worked in your life or the lives of your family members. What kind of “memorial stones” can you establish?
  5. When the Children of Israel entered Canaan, God stopped the supply of manna (Joshua 5:12). How do you think the Israelites felt when the manna, which they had depended on for so many years, ceased? How might you respond if God should suddenly change His provisions and make the “manna cease” in an area of your life?
  6. After the great victory at Jericho (Joshua 6), Joshua and the children of Israel were soundly defeated at Ai due to the disobedience of one man, Achan (Joshua 7). Give an example of how disobedience in one area of a person’s life can significantly impact others.
  7. Note how thoroughly Joshua and the Children of Israel destroyed the city of Ai (Joshua 8:1-29). Why do you suppose they were so thorough?
  8. After the fall of Ai, Joshua offered sacrifices to God and read the Law of Moses to all the people (Joshua 8:30-35) even though there were many battles yet to be fought in the land of Canaan. What acts of obedience and worship should we as Christians be careful to perform even as we face the battles of life?


With God’s help, Joshua faithfully carried out the great task to which he had been appointed. As we read about Joshua’s victories, we also should be encouraged to faithfully follow the Lord: the same God who led Joshua and the Children of Israel into Canaan is leading us today!